West Chester Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
Spinal cord injuries can result in extensive long-lasting complications. Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries are often permanent, and they can lead to major medical and out-of-pocket expenses that victims and family members have to handle. At Wilk Law, our team is here to help if you need a West Chester spinal cord injury attorney by your side.
If your injury was caused by the negligence of another individual, we have the resources necessary to fully investigate these complex injury claims and help you recover total compensation for your losses. When you need a West Chester spinal cord injury lawyer, you can contact us online or call us at (855) 938-1757.
What Are The Most Common Spinal Cord Injury Types
Your spinal cord has rings of bones called vertebrae surrounding it, and the bones make up your spinal column. Generally speaking, the higher your injury is in your spinal column, the more significant its impact on your life.
Spinal cord injuries can occur for various reasons, such as car accidents, falls, sports injuries, and medical conditions. The severity and type of spinal cord injury can vary depending on the location and extent of the damage.
Your vertebra gets their names according to their location in your spinal column. The cervical vertebra is the seven bones in your neck, which are C-1 to C-7. There are 12 vertebrae in your chest called the thoracic vertebra, labeled T-1 to T-12. T-1 is where your top rib attaches.
The vertebra in your lower back between your pelvis and where your ribs attach is your lumbar vertebra, labeled L-1 thru L-5. From your pelvis to the end of your spinal column, you have five sacral vertebrae labeled S-1 to S-5. Injuries to any of these areas can be devastating, and the most common types of spinal cord injuries include:
- Herniated discs: This type of injury occurs when the soft material inside a disc in your spine pushes out through a crack or tear in the disc’s outer layer. It can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the affected area.
- Paraplegia: This type of injury affects the lower half of your body, including your legs, hips, and lower torso. It may result in losing sensation, movement, or both in these areas.
- Spinal cord contusion: This type of injury occurs when the spinal cord is bruised or compressed, damaging the nerve fibers in the area.
- Spinal fractures: This type of injury occurs when one or more of the bones in your spinal cord break or fracture. It can cause severe pain, nerve damage, and loss of movement.
- Tetraplegia: Also known as quadriplegia, this type of injury affects your arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs. It may result in paralysis or limited movement in these areas.
If you have sustained a spinal cord injury, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately. An experienced medical professional can evaluate your condition, provide appropriate treatment, and help you understand your options for recovery. Additionally, a skilled West Chester spinal cord injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation for your injuries if someone else’s negligence caused them.
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Occur?
Injuries to your spinal cord can come from damage to the vertebrae, disk, or ligaments inside the spinal column or from the spinal cord itself. A traumatic injury to this area, such as a sudden blow, can cause your spine to dislocate, fracture, and crush or compress one or more vertebrae. A knife or gunshot wound can also penetrate your spine.
There is generally additional damage in the following days or weeks because of inflammation, bleeding, and swelling or fluid accumulation around your spine. In addition, nontraumatic spinal cord injuries can result from inflammation, arthritis, infections, cancer, or disk degeneration. The most common spinal cord injury causes include:
- Acts of violence – According to the Mayo Clinic, roughly 12% of spinal cord injuries come from violent encounters, with gunshot wounds and stabbings at the top of the list.
- Diseases – Osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer, and inflammation can cause injuries to this area, and they make up 4% of these injuries.
- Falls – Falls account for between 49% and 70% of all senior spinal cord injuries in older adults.
- Medical malpractice – While not as common as some causes on the list, medical malpractice like a botched spine surgery causes 5% of spine injuries.
- Recreational or sports injuries – Sports-related injuries make up 7.93% of spine injuries, the fourth-leading cause of damage to this area.
- Slips and falls – Roughly 20% of every spine injury reported in the United States annually is due to a slip and fall accident.
- Vehicle accidents – Vehicle accidents make up almost 30% of all spinal cord injuries each year.
- Work accidents – The Bureau of Labor Statistics found 38.5% of musculoskeletal injuries involved back injuries.
Who Are The Parties Liable For Causing a Back Injury?
Generally, anyone who made a dangerous decision or acted in a way that caused your injury owes you damages. A skilled spinal injury lawyer will dig deep into the evidence to help correctly identify the responsible parties, whether they’re institutions, businesses, or individuals.
Our experienced spinal injury attorneys understand that the parties you may initially think are responsible for your accident may not be who you expect. This is why we guide our liability evaluation with facts, and any of the following parties could owe you damages for your injury:
- A building owner where you fell and suffered an accident because of poorly maintained flooring or poor lighting.
- A defective backyard trampoline manufacturer neglected to put in standard safety features that could have prevented your fall.
- A driver who was reckless or negligent behind the wheel and caused a collision where you were injured.
- A school neglected to supervise and train its athletic staff correctly, causing dangerous training drills that resulted in a traumatic fall.
These are all quick examples showing that identifying the responsible parties for your claim requires an experienced attorney to examine the evidence closely. At Wilk Law, our West Chester spinal cord injury attorneys know where to look for evidence to support your claim and how to use it to prove liability to help you receive compensation.
Proving Fault In a Spinal Cord Injury Claim
To receive compensation for a spinal cord injury, you must enlist an experienced spinal injury lawyer to represent you to prove fault. To adequately prove fault in this type of case, you, as the plaintiff, have to prove that:
- Your injury wasn’t the result of a pre-existing condition
- You sustained a spinal cord injury
- Your injury happened due to another person’s wrongful behavior or negligence, and their actions showed a clear disregard for your safety
You could hold any party whose negligent actions contributed to your injury responsible. To recover financial compensation for your accident, your lawyer will have to build a very strong case against the plaintiff based on one of the following:
- Negligence – Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care or caution, which results in harm or injury to another person or their property.
- Contributory Negligence – This means that you contributed to your spinal injury by acting in a way that exposed yourself to risk. In this case, you’re usually entitled to a portion of the overall damages, with the percentage the court finds you at fault subtracted.
- Strict Liability – You’ll see this in defective product lawsuits, which means that the negligence lies with the manufacturer, a design flaw, or product marketing. You have to prove you sustained your injuries while using the product as it was intended.
- Intentional Wrong – Your lawyer will have to prove that the defendant acted in a way that they knew would cause you harm but did it anyway.
How Will an Attorney Help With a Spinal Injury Claim?
Spinal cord injury claims often become complicated, particularly because insurance carriers push back vigorously from having to pay out large claims. A skilled spinal cord injury lawyer can handle every aspect of the claim, beginning with conducting an independent investigation to determine liability.
Additionally, a lawyer will ensure that their client is evaluated by a trusted spinal cord injury specialist who can help calculate total expected losses (including overall lifetime expenses caused by the spinal cord trauma).
A lawyer will handle negotiations with insurance carriers to recover maximum compensation while simultaneously preparing the case to go to trial if necessary.
The Long-Term Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are incredibly costly, both right after the initial injury occurs as well as throughout the entire lifetime of a spinal cord injury victim. Data available from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) shows that the first-year medical costs for spinal cord injury can range anywhere from $380,000 to more than $1,000,000, depending on the severity of the injury and the level of paralysis.
The medical costs do not stop after the first year. Every additional year of medical care can reach as high as $200,000.
Unfortunately, these are only the medical costs associated with these injuries. Spinal cord injury victims and their families will also have to deal with the cost of prescription medications, medical devices, construction to houses to aid with mobility, new vehicles to allow for wheelchair access, and more.
How Much Will I Be Compensated?
The type of injury you sustain will factor into your total claim’s worth. These claims are among the highest-paying ones you can file because they can have permanent, life-altering effects. In general, your claim may be worth:
- Cervical Spine Injury – $5,000 to $50,000
- Soft Neck Injury – $5,000 to $20,000
- Neck Disc Injury – $200,000 or more
- Compression Fracture – $10,000 to $100,000
- Herniated Disc – $10,000 to $100,000
- Bulging Disc – $100,000 and $150,000
The compensation the court awards you for general damages will depend on the severity or intensity of your injury. Severe SCIs fall between $240,000 and $320,000. Mild injuries have a compensation range of $160,000 and $240,000, and mild or moderate SCIs fall between $30,000 and $160,000. Additionally, Pennsylvania has no cap on non-economic damages like pain and suffering, as other states do.
The court awards these damages as tracked and identifiable monetary losses due to your injury. Loss of income, medical expenses, and property damages are all included as you can prove you lost them. There is a $250,000 cap on personal injury damages when taking on a government agency, and local parties or agencies have a $500,000 special damages cap.
Finally, the court can assign punitive damages to punish the defendant in cases of gross negligence. The only cap on the amount of damages the court can assign is when the case is against the Commonwealth, and this is a $250,000 maximum.
How Is Pain And Suffering Measured?
When a court tries to quantify pain and suffering, they consider various factors since they cannot understand how much you have suffered due to your injury. To make it more complicated, pain and suffering can be emotional, physical, or psychological. Several factors come into play when the court measures your pain and suffering, including:
- The type of medical treatment you had: The more invasive and painful the treatment, the more severe the injury.
- The type of medications your doctors or surgeons prescribed: If powerful pain-killing medications were necessary, it proves the severity of the pain and can be used as evidence in court.
- The time the pain and suffering lasted: The longer the pain persists, the higher the personal injury claim value.
- The injury’s effects: Long-lasting disfigurement or disability can cause intense emotional suffering, which is also considered when determining how much damage to award.
Why Choose Wilk Law for a Spinal Cord Injury Case?
- At Wilk Law, our team of experienced West Chester personal injury attorneys takes a client-centered approach to every case. We believe in helping our clients get their lives back on track, both physically and emotionally.
- We have a reputation for getting results. We regularly secure compensation for clients through settlements, but we have no problem taking a case all the way to trial.
- We handle West Chester spinal cord injury claims on a contingency fee basis. This means that our clients will not have to pay a dime in legal fees until after we recover the compensation they need.
West Chester, Pennsylvania
West Chester, PA, located in southeastern part of the state, is a vibrant and historic town that offers a unique blend of modern amenities and small-town charm. With a population of around 20,000 people, West Chester is known for its bustling downtown area, which boasts a variety of shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.
The town’s history is also evident in its well-preserved architecture and historic landmarks, such as the West Chester Railroad and the Chester County Courthouse. So whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, arts, and culture or simply enjoying the local cuisine, West Chester has something for everyone.
Contact Wilk Law Today
If you or somebody you love has sustained a spinal cord injury as a result of the negligent actions of someone else in West Chester, Pennsylvania, reach out to the team at Wilk Law for help as soon as possible. We refuse to back down to aggressive insurance carriers, and we understand how important it is that you recover maximum compensation for your losses.
This includes complete coverage of all medical bills associated with spinal cord injury, lost income, as well as pain and suffering damages. When you need experienced legal representation, you can contact us using our contact form or call us at (855) 938-1757.